Tuesday, April 23

Varsity volleyball looking to


Varsity volleyball looking to

end alumni’s winning streak

Kiraly, Luyties and Smith lead Bruin all-star squad

By Eric Branch

Daily Bruin Senior Staff

If it was a meeting of the minds, Einstein might be coming off
the bench.

Tonight at 7 in the Wooden Center the UCLA men’s volleyball team
battles a legendary alumni team headlined by volleyball luminaries
Karch Kiraly, Sinjin Smith and Ricci Luyties in a match featuring
an ungodly array of volleyball talent.

While the varsity, loaded with 1994 AVCA Player of the Year Jeff
Nygaard and All-America selections Erik Sullivan and Kevin Wong, is
a popular choice for another national championship in ’95, it is
doubtful the alumni will be overly daunted. Among their 19 members
the alumni have accumulated 35 national championships, 27
All-Conference honors, 26 Volleyball Monthly covers, 23 All-America
awards and four Olympic gold medals. In addition, the team includes
nine present or former national team members and eight players who
currently play professionally on the beach.

UCLA head coach Al Scates does not foresee the highly decorated
squad venturing back to Westwood for a friendly reunion.

"It could be one of the best lineups they’ve ever had," Scates
said. "Sometimes this match is more friendly than others, however
with this alumni their main objective is to beat us. This group
doesn’t like to ever lose and they’re not used to losing. They will
come out hard … maybe they’ll be friendly after the match."

Indeed recent Bruin graduate Tim Kelly (’94), who holds the
highest career hitting percentage in UCLA history, is having little
trouble switching allegiances.

"We are all going to be taking this match very seriously," Kelly
said. "We want to go out there and kick some ass."

For their part, the varsity will not be lacking for motivation.
As they prepare for their season opening tournament next weekend in
Santa Barbara, they are on the heels of a two-game losing streak to
the alumni. During their last meeting in October, the alumni
rallied from an 0-2 deficit to win 3-2.

"We want to win and put those guys in their place," Nygaard
said. "We will probably come out more seriously than we would for a
regular season match."

Despite the seemingly intense rivalry between the two teams,
there is an obvious sense of mutual respect. In fact there is
enough for a two-time All-American to feel slightly awed as he
takes the court.

"I’ve never played against Karch," Nygaard said. "To go against
a guy who is the pinnacle of volleyball in everyone’s minds …
it’s big."

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